Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 7, 2008

Wow, Noah, where's your ark?!?  Boy is it ever coming down out there.  I heard a forecast for over 5 inches tonight.  Flooding is happening to the north and south of us.  Good thing we don't need to go out tonight.  Yikes. 

Ok, now is a good time to put in a plug for Mel's Mix.  5 inches of rain in 5 hours will turn most beds into soup.  Not Mel's Mix. It drains like a sink and holds water like a sponge.   If a picture would have taken out outside right now I'd show you the puddle next to my open bed, and my bed just sitting their moist and happy.  Worth every penny!

I know I'm changing topics with little to no segue, but I think I'm zoning in on a replacement for my Early Girl slicer.  I was really hoping for something slightly larger than Early Girl, which didn't cover a bun well for BBQs, but what my good buddy Carolyn suggested may be the best alternative.  She asked if I wanted to try Bloody Butcher. 

Looking it up on the net and it was compared on Baker Creek directly to Early Girl as far as size, time to maturity and yield, but apparently BB is much better tasting.  Interesting.  I was kind of hoping for something bigger though.

Another possiblitiy is a good old Brandywine.  It's not an early variety, maturing a full month after Bloody Butcher, but it's an indeterminate that grows to about a pound each with excellent flavor.  Apparently a friend of my brother's grows these every year and they matured even last year.  If I grew these, I'd want to start them inside ASAP to let them grow as much as possible before I transplanted into the SWC.  Or maybe I could even transplant after two months like normal into an SWC that I keep inside until the last frost date.  That's a pretty good idea, hehe.  Ok, so I am not as close as I thought I was.  Grrr.

Speaking of tomatoes, as I type this post, Kelly asked why Territorial thought Stupice may not be the best slicing tomato.  For this answer, I'll actually quote the representative I've been corresponding with: "Stupice will not be as productive and the fruit will not be as large as Early Girl (at least from my experiences) but
it is a great open-pollinated, early maturing variety that has a good flavor."

Also while I was composing this post, my brother called to say he was going through his catalog and seed bin, figuring out what he's going to grow this year.  He called to bemoan the fact that he only has 80 SF of beds.  I told him the answer was simple, build more beds.  He plans to actually.  I think I've told you that his plan is to rip out 3 junk bush/trees on the side of his driveway against an east-facing fence and double his bed space.  Better do that soon, hehe.

Well, the wind's whipping and the it's raining cats and dogs, so time to curl up under a blanket with a good book, or seed catalog.  Are you getting excited yet?


  1. Doesn't bloody butcher produce 2" fruit? I was also just looking them up after Judy mentioned them. Seems kind of tiny for a burger.

    I am trying brandywine this year, Kathy from skippy's vegetable garden recommended it to me as the best red tomato to grow. I bet they are great on a burger, the bigger the tomato the bigger the burger!

  2. I think it's rained here the entire months of Dec and Jan. We've had some real toad floaters and the winds that have come after them have knocked over some beautiful old oak trees around here. We've never gotten this much rain. I filled my beds last weekend with the mix and whereas they're looking good, they seem to have settled about 1.5 inches which makes me sad, but it's still nice to the touch.

  3. Stupice is a smaller tomato - kind of saladette size, so if you are looking for full size it is not the one for you. Personally, I grow several varieities because I want different things from tomatoes. I want a roma for canning/saucing. I want a medium to large GOOD tasting (I prefer more sweet to acid balance) for slicing and fresh eating AND I want a plant that will produce fresh eating tomatoes as early and late as possible in the season. I grow varieties like Stupice for the early/late eating - then produce through the entire summer but it is the size for lunch boxes and salads mostly. I grow varieties like Legend and Siletz for the fresh eating slicers, and I grow roma varieties like Marzano or Viva Italia for saucing and canning.

    I grew Brandywine every single year while in central Washington - it is without a doubt one of my favorite tomatoes. Unfortunately, I learned through experience here that they are too long maturing for the coastal maritime climate - only get a harvest or ripe fruit at the extreme end of the production season - if at all. Big beefsteak type tomatoes with longer maturity timelines have the odds stacked up against them in our climate. It's sad... but unfortunately true. That is why since moving to this area my mix of tomato varieties are now focussed on faster maturing and ones that will set fruit in cooler conditions.

  4. DoubleD makes a good point about Brandywine take so long to produce, some of the larger heirlooms take forever to produce.

    I was just looking up some early heirloom varieties and found a tomato grower in California. They have all kinds of heirloom seed and even have a link to cooler climate varieties. Siletz
    & Sunsets Red Horizon look really good, you should take a look at their others as well. If the links do not work their url is

  5. perfect timing, I was just looking for you to ask what type of tomatoes do you plant in your SWC. This year my only option for tomatos is going ot be SWC or risk losing them to the hundreds of gophers that have the 'yard' riddled with more holes then swiss cheese. They can nibble on the mesclun, its easily replacable, but if they kill/eat my tomatos I'd seriously have a bitch fit over it.

    are you only limited to determinate varieties for the SWC? I am planning on putting them at the base of a large lattice/fence structure, and training the plant/vines to that. How much root space is needed for det vs indet varieties?

    I have had good luck with "gardener's delight" cherry tomatos so I'll keep a plant of that- now I need 2-3 plants of a good 'canning' ( low seed) tomato, some good paste tomatos and yes, a good nice meaty BBQ burger slicer 'mato.
    I'm going nuts reading thru catalogs dreaming of the perfect garden, I guess now I understand what my fellow females must feel when shopping for purses, only I get excited looking for veggies. I wonder what the Dervaes will have for sale- usually I get my tomatoes started indoors around this time, but I have so many types I wanna try I feel bad ordering so many packets of seeds LOL.

  6. It has rained alot here, too. The fruit trees absolutely love it, though. Also, it has allowed our region to finally diminish the rainfall deficit that we have experienced for the last 2 years.
    I'm gonna be growing 6 varieties, and brandywine is one of them. I sure hope they're good, because I've never had one.